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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

STATUS OF GILGIT AND BALTISTAN


BACKGROUND

European Union constituted a committee under the chairpersonship of Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne. This committee compiled its report titled "Kashmir Present Situation and Future Prospects" on 21 March 2007. This report also deals with the status of Northern Areas (Now Gilgit and Baltistan) as such I have decided to share it with the readers of this region. It has already been circulated to the members of NALA (Northern Area Legislative Council) and copy also mailed to Mr. Qamar-uz-zaman Kaira, recently sworn as the first governor of Gilgit and Baltistan. (Readers may please click these links to have a better realization of the designs involved: Indian Reaction , EU Report , Asian Tribune , World News , Times of India , International designs in GB and related material on this link: Related )
 
The contents have been arranged under following heads:
  1. GOP views on the topic
  2. Views of the chairperson of the EU committee (also member of subcommittee on Human Rights)
  3. Endorsement of the EU views done by late Benazir Bhutto Chairperson Pakistan People's Party and former Prime Minister through her press release dated 24 May 2007.
  4. A lone voice from the region as communicated to the EU by the compiler of this document (Brig retired Hisamullah Beg SI(M)
  5. Concluding Remarks.
GOP Views
Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels through its letter dated 8th May 2007 expressed the government's views. The contents of the letter are reproduced as under:
 
'Dear Baroness,
Reference the report "Kashmir: Present situation and future prospects", adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs on 21 March,2007.

Para 2 of the explanatory statement annexed to the report states:
"The division gave Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Laddakh, and Siachin Glacier accession to the Republic of India as the State of Jammu and Kashmir, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan took control of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit and Baltistan, the latter renamed the Northern Areas, a small part of which Pakistan ceded to the People's Republic of China in 1963,"

In this context, I would like to bring to your notice the following salient points regarding the Northern Areas of Pakistan:

The Northern Areas of Pakistan consist of six districts, viz. Gilgit, Skardu, Diamir, Ghizer, ,Ghanche and Astore, Its population is around 1,5 million and it spreads over a vast area of 72,495 sq. Km.

• Historically, the Treaties of Lahore and Amritsar of 1846, which constitute the basic documents regarding the establishment of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, do not recognize its territorial limits on the areas westwards of the River Indus. The whole of Northern Areas, which include Gilgit Agency and Baltistan Agency, was not a part of Jammu and Kashmir State in August 1947.

• The States of Hunza and Nagar were never treated as part of Jammu and Kashmir. They were autonomous states but nominally under the suzerainty of the Dogra ruler. Hunza and Nagar acceded to Pakistan and the instrument of accession signed by the Mirs (rulers) of these states was accepted by the Quaid-e-Azam in 1947.

• The UNCIP resolutions are also relative to the State of Jammu and Kashmir and do not, in any manner, apply to any part of the Northern Areas which were not included in the State of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947 From this perspective, integration of the Northern Areas with Pakistan is also not prohibited.
Regarding Siachin, the following information may be of interest to you:

  • Siachin Glacier forms part of the Northern Areas, which has been under the administrative control of Pakistan, right from 1947. The physical control of this area was acknowledged by the Government of India when Pakistan signed the Border Agreement with China in 1063.
  • This control was never disturbed during the conflicts of 1948, 1965 and 1971. Thus, Pakistan's control over the area remained effective till April 1984 when Indian troops were found to be present there - a development violating the provisions of the Simla Agreement.
  • The Karachi Agreement of 1949 specifically fixes NJ 9842 as the northern most terminus of the Cease Fire Line (CFL). As the Agreement was one between military representatives for purpose of establishing a CF'L, it obviously did not touch on the question of drawing a line beyond the area of hostilities. The Sub-Para B 2 (d) of the Agreement gives the descriptive narrative of CF'L towards its terminus in Baltistan which reads as:
    "..... Chorbatla (Pt 15700), Chulanka (on the Shyok River), Khor, thence north to the glaciers. This portion of the CFL shall be demarcated in detail on the basis of the factual position as of
    27 July 1949 by the local commanders assisted by UN Military Observer."
    Because of Pakistan's control over the area a number of mountaineering expeditions, including foreign expeditions which took permission from the Government of Pakistan visited Siachin area, the most well known of which was undertaken by a team of the Imperial College of London led by Eric Shipton in 1957. Two Australian expeditions visited Siachin area during 1962. These expeditions sought and were given permission by the Government of Pakistan as a matter of course.
  • The conclusion of a. Boundary Agreement between China and Pakistan in 1963 established the second terminus at Karakoram Pass. Thus, the area located North and North East of NJ 9842 up to the Karakoram pass has been under the de-facto control of Pakistan, This fact is clearly reflected in prestigious international atlases like National Geographic and Britannica etc. 
  • Pakistan's control over the area during and after the 1965 conflict remained undisturbed. The 1949 CFL was restored after the Tashkent Agreement. Pakistan's control over the area in question remained undisturbed during 1971 war, The Line . Of Control resulting from the Cease Fire of December 17, 1971 as delimited by the Military Representatives of both the Governments again terminated at NJ 9842. Pakistan's control was also recognized by India in the Karachi and Simla agreements.
  • Pakistan continued to exercise control in the area in question after the Simla Agreement, Up to 1984, Pakistan granted permission to a number of foreign mountaineering expeditions who visited the Siachin Glacier and the area to the east along with a large number of Pakistani personnel.
  • Pakistan protested to India on March 29, 1982 against intrusion by the Indian troops Ira the area. India described the protest as Invalid" stating that "this area is a part of Jammu and Kashrnir the whole of which is an integral part of India".
  • In 1984, India, in violation of the Simla Agreement, moved its troops north of LOC terminus NJ 9842 and occupied Sia La, and Belafond La passes of the Saitoro range lying west and adjacent to the Siachin Glacier.
  • In response, Pakistan Anny moved in the area to check further Indian ingress. Pakistani troops occupied position in Gyong La, overlooking the Nubra Valley.
I hope that the information given above would find due place in the final report and would help in removing factual errors from the report.
(M. Saeed Khalid)
Ambassador

Views of the EU Committee:

In reply to the Ambassador's letter the chairperson, vide her letter dated 22 May 2007, wrote:

"Your Excellency,

Thank you for your letter of 8 May 2007 on the historic and geographical borders of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir. You comment particularly on the Northern Areas of Pakistan, declaring that these are not, and never part of Kashmir. Accordingly, any reference to these areas in the Foreign Affairs Committee Report "Kashmir: present situation and future prospects" should be deleted, by the amendments you have provided to me, at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg this Thursday 24 May.
You give as evidence the absence of Northern Areas in the 1846 Treaties of Lahore and Amritsar, which you identify as the basic documents regarding the establishment of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. You further state that these territories were "not a part of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947."
Let me say immediately that I fully respect your point of view on this and on all other related matters. You speak on behalf of your Government. As an elected politician I pay full regard to this new and important position that your letter presents. Your letter challenges a key basic assumption which underpinned my Draft Report, and has been carried forward by the Foreign Affairs Committee to be presented to plenary: namely that Gilgit and Baltistan (the more historic name for the Northern Areas, and the one by which the region is more widely known) were indeed part of Jammu and Kashmir at the time of accession to the Republic of India, thus giving the peoples' right of ethnic identity as Kashmiris in perpetuity. Your Government now claims that this is a wrong assumption.
On receiving your letter I immediately and rigorously revisited my earlier research on the geography and history of the region. I have checked maps, treaties, historic documents and speeches, putting together with extreme care a hill and comprehensive picture from 1846 until today.
Unfortunately, I find that I am unable to commend your Government's new position to the European Parliament. All of the evidence points to the fact that Gilgit and Baltistan region were constituent parts of Jammu and Kashmir by 1877, under the sovereignty of Maharajah Singh, and remained in the domain of this independent princely state up to and including the formation of India and Pakistan on 15 August 1947 and the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety to the new Dominion of India on 26 October 1947.
Your Government's assertion that "Northern Areas" were independent of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947 is also incorrect. The British leased a small part of the territory from the Maharajah on 29 March 1935, to provide a strong defense and security provision against persistent Russian invasion of the State. The lease in no way took sovereignty from the State of Jammu and Kashmir; the terms are clear, and ownership remained fairly and squarely with the Ruler, Maharajah Singh. The lease came to an end on 1 August 1947, in preparation for partition on 15 August 1947, thus giving back to the Ruler full powers prior to the decision by himself, his Prime Minister and Cabinet as to which of the two emerging nations his state would join.
I attach by way of supporting evidence:
1. An official map of the region of 909, showing Gilgit and Baltistan clearly marked within the State borders of Kashmir;
2. Extract from the leasehold agreement of 1935;
3. Extract from the instrument of accession of 26 October 1947 of Jammu and Kashmir;
4. Letter from Hari Singh, the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir. giving reasons for his State's accession to the Dominion of India;

Let me turn now to Siachin Glacier, on which you have given me eleven paragraphs of information with a request that the points also be incorporated into the final report. I have not put these forward to Parliament since Siachin Glacier issues gain only a small mention in the report and a new section would have to be created were we to adopt your points. Reworking of any report of such magnitude at such a late stage in the process is highly unlikely and indeed would, I believe, be politically unacceptable. The same reasoning applies to your points on Gilgit and Baltistan. where it is clear there is no historic or geographical justification at all for such a step. A report which has received such an overwhelming majority from the senior committee in this House as this report has gained, will normally be passed with few, if any, modifications or additions. Indeed I believe that this will be the outcome of our debates and votes of Thursday.
You will, I know, wish to convey this letter and its attachments to your Government immediately, so that there is no misunderstanding between us at the position I will adopt in plenary.
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne MEP

Attachments:

1) An official map of the region of 1909, showing Baltistan, Gilgit and Hunza clearly marked within the State borders of Kashmir;
(scanned)

2) Extract from the leasehold agreement of 29 March 1935; 
"Article I: The Viceroy and Governor General of India may at any time after ratification of this agreement assume the civil and military administration of so much of the Wazarat of Gilgit, Gilgit Province (hereinafter referred to as the 'Said territory') of the Jammu and Kashmir as lies beyond the right bank of the river Indus, but notwithstanding anything in this agreement the said territory shall continue to be included within the domain of His Highness the Maharaja of Jammu mid Kashmir"
3) Extract from the instrument of accession of 26 October 1947 of Jammu and Kashmir;

"Now, therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahander Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji Jammu and Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibbet adi Deshadhipathi, Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir State, in the exercise of my Sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession; and
1, 1 hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India with the intent that the Governor-General of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall, by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only of the Dominion, exercise in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (hereinafter referred to is 'this State" such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force in the Dominion of India, on the 15th Day of August 1947, (which Act as so in force is hereafter referred to as "the Act"),"
4) Letter from Hari Singh, the Maharajah of Jammu and Kashmir, giving reasons for the accession to the Dominion of India (26 October 1947);
(scanned)
Accession of Jammu and Kashmir State to India
Text Of Letter Dated October 26, 1947 from Hari Singh The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir to Lord Mountbatton, Governor General of India.

My dear Lord Mountbatten,
I have to inform your Excellency a grave emergency has arisen in my State and request immediate assistance of your government.
As your Excellency is aware The State of Jammu and Kashmir has not acceded to Dominion of India or to Pakistan. Geographically my State is contiguous to both the Dominions. It has vital economical and cultural links with both of these. . Besides my State has a common boundary with the Soviet Republic and China. In their external relations the Dominions of India and Pakistan cannot ignore this fact.
I wanted to take time to decide to which Dominion I should accede, or whether it is not in the best interest of both the Dominions and my State to stand independent, of course with friendly and cordial relations with both.
I accordingly approached the Dominions of India and Pakistan to enter into Standstill Agreement with my State. The Pakistan Government accepted the Agreement. The Dominion of India desired further discussions with the representatives of my Government. I could not arrange this in view of the developments indicated before. In fact Pakistan Government is opening Post and Telegraph system inside the State.
Though we have got a Standstill agreement with the Pakistan Government that Government permitted steady and increasing strangulation of supplies like food, salt and petrol to my state.
Afridis, soldiers in plain clothes, and desperadoes with modern weapons have been allowed to in filter into the state at first in Poonch and then in Sialkot and finally in mass area adjoining Hazara District on the Ramkot side. The result has been that the limited number of troops at the disposal of the state had to be dispersed and thus had to face the enemy at the several points simultaneously, that it has become difficult to stop the wanton destruction of life and property and looting the Mahora power house which supplies the electric current to the whole of Srinagar has been burnt. The number of women who have been kidnapped and raped makes my heart bleed. The wild forces thus let loose on the state are marching on with the aim of capturing Srinagar, the summer Capital of my Government, as first step to over-running the whole state.
The mass infiltration of tribesmen drawn from distant areas of the North West Frontier crossing regularly in mother tracks using Mansehra- Muzzafarabad Road and fully armed with up to date weapons cannot possibly be done without the knowledge of the Provincial Government of the North- West Frontier Province and the Government of Pakistan. In spite of repeated requests made by my Government no attempt has been made to check these raiders or stop them from coming into my State. The Pakistan Radio even put out a story that a Provisional Government had been set up in Kashmir. The people of my State both the Muslims and non- Muslims generally have taken no part at all.
With the conditions obtaining at present in my State and the great emergency of the situation as it exists, I have no option but to ask for help from the Indian Dominion. Naturally they cannot send the help asked for by me without my State according to the Dominion of India. I have accordingly decided to do so and I attach the Instrument of Accession for acceptance by your Government. The other alternative is to leave my State and my people to free-booters. On this basis no civilized Government can exist or be maintained. This alternative I will never allow to happen as long as I am the ruler of the state and I have life to defend my country.
I am also to inform your Excellency's Government that it is my intention at once to set up an interim Government and ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime minister.
If my State has to be saved immediate assistance must be available at Srinagar. Mr. Memon is fully aware of the situation and he will explain to you, if further explanation is needed.
In haste and with kind regards,
The Palace, Jammu                                                                 Your sincerely,
26th October, 1947                                                                   Hari Singh
   
Bhutto comments on Nicholson's Kashmir report
Statement by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party, on Nicholson's Kashmir Report
24 May 2007
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party, welcomes the European Union Report presented by Baroness Emma Nicholson for drawing attention to the right of self determination of the Kashmiri people;

* for reaffirming the EU's commitment to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means;

* for taking note of the impact of the earthquake on the people of AJK and for urging the European Union to help and support the Kashmiris in this regard;

* for supporting the role of the composite peace process in moving towards a durable settlement for the Kashmiris based on democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental rights;

* for urging the Indian and Pakistan governments to facilitate the ceasefire on the Line of Control by calling further on militant armed groups to enroll in a disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation process;

* for encouraging the Pakistan government to transform the ceasefire in place in Siachin since 2003 into a lasting peace agreement;

* for urging both governments to allow international human rights organizations immediate and unrestricted access to all parts of the former princely state in order to investigate the human rights situation there;

* for calling on the Indian Government to put an end to all practices of extrajudicial killings " disappearances" , torture and arbitrary detentions in Jammu and Kashmir;

* for calling on the Indian and Pakistani authorities to ease restrictions on travel between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad;

* for urging Pakistan to revisit its concepts of fundamental rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religious practices in AJK and Gilgit and Baltistan;

* for calling for the first elections to be held in Gilgit and Baltistan and for seeking higher democratic representation in the Northern Areas;
 
* for supporting the ICG's 2006 recommendations to disarm militants, shut down terrorist training camps, stop terrorist recruitment and end the flow of money and weapons to the Taliban and other foreign or local militants on Pakistani territory;

* for strong support of regional integration, trade liberalization, and economic cooperation, and to strengthen organizations such as SAARC and SAFTA;

* and for placing a high value on democracy and human rights for all the people in the region; particularly for those lacking in fundamental freedoms.

The Chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, has always stood firm in her belief in the value of non-violent solutions to conflict, the blurring of hard lines and the promotion of softer borders, the primacy of trade, economic liberalization and regional integration, and the re-assertion of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms in all areas of India, Pakistan and Kashmir.

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto therefore supports the recommendations of the EU report introduced in April 2007 which calls for all of the objectives outlined above, in the interests of the Kashmiri people.
ENDS

 
A Voice from Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan)
The communication reads:
"Respected Emma Nicholson,
 
I am a retired army officer from Hunza in Northern Areas. My late father compiled and published the first written history of the area. He was a totally honest researcher and moralist Ismaili, (follower of H.H Prince Aga Khan). He was not able to complete the second part of the history before his death in 1984. I did some translations and compilation of the second part which has not been published. I went through portions of the report prepared by your committee and as such decided to share the CHAPTER-1 of unpublished history manuscript. It appears that the research done by your committee greatly relies on official documentation and it never tried to investigate regional truths. I would not talk of entire Northern area (Gilgit and Baltistan) but talking of Hunza only, you would notice from the historical facts that "The tribute paid to the Kashmir ruler was of nominal value and paid by all the rulers in the entire area not just to Kashmir but to most of their neighbors including China in return for gifts of considerably higher value. In fact the ruler of Hunza considered these return gifts as an extortion which the Chinese as well as the Maharajah were willing to offer as a means of dissuading the frequent looting raids conducted on the outposts and the hamlets in the border area of these countries by the people of Hunza under his orders. Incidentally this occasion was also used for the slave trade. "
 I am sure that the committee's mindset is pro India and at this stage will not be willing to accept the facts. Nevertheless I would hope you would find some time to go through the attached document and reconsider your views on the status of Hunza (and also Nager).
 
With best wishes
Hisamullah Beg P.O.Karimabad, Baltit Hunza
Northern Areas of Pakistan"

RELATED:  STATUS PT-II


 

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